CREDITS: Written by Michael Reaves; art by Aluir Amancio and Terry Austin.
REVIEW: Superman knowing who the Challengers are already is pointless given their obvious motivation, so it had me scratching my head. Unless I'm forgetting some other story. But I don't think I am. In any case, these chicken-armed aliens feature a messy hodgepodge of a design, and whatever technology/powers are required to give Superman a hard time. They are a means to an end. They are background.
What the issue is really about is putting Superman in dire straights, have Lois tag along to get into trouble herself, and their romantic bond shining through. They don't QUITE manage to make her save the Man of Steel the same way he saves her though that's clearly the intention. Just because she's the one who pulls the trigger on the Phantom Zone projector doesn't mean Superman didn't have the idea and couldn't have done it himself. They're standing next to each other when she does. Absolutely no reason it had to be her. And Superman almost gives himself away for no reason by referring to something she discussed with Clark at the Daily Planet. An attempt to keep the solution a mystery to the audience, but still hint at it for brighter readers. Doesn't make sense though.
But man, Amancio's Lois is dead sexy, and the story gives her an opportunity to change outfits several time. Classic reporter Lois is smoldering. Lois in military garb reminds one of Diana Prince and has a librarian thing going on. And that revealing Kryptonian hospital gown. Wow. In terms of attitude and expression, she can be brash and in the way, ready to give up her life, or has great chemistry with Superman. And he with her, whether he's trying to save her or outwit her. So as a showcase for the duo, it's good. I just don't think much of the antagonists.
REREADABILITY: Medium - Nice Lois stuff; not so nice Challenger stuff.